An organization’s network is a critical aspect of its operations and it is essential to ensure that it is used in an appropriate and secure manner. One way to accomplish this is by implementing Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) for employees and guests who have access to the network.


AUPs are a set of rules and regulations that outline what is considered appropriate and inappropriate use of the organization’s network and resources. They are designed to protect the organization’s assets and reputation while also ensuring that employees and guests are able to work and access resources productively and efficiently. 


Many organizations have strict compliance requirements depending on the kind of data they have access to. These Acceptable Use Policies help protect the organization against a lawsuit in the case of a negligent employee. If an employee leaks sensitive data or visits an illegal site that introduces malware, the organization can be prone to lawsuits. If an acceptable use policy is in place, the organization can pursue legal action against the employee for violating the AUP. 


When developing AUPs, organizations should consider a variety of factors, including the organization’s mission and values, the type of data and resources on the network, and the security and compliance requirements of the organization. 


Creating Acceptable Use Policies is a great way to protect your organization and mitigate risk. Having a clear code of conduct will keep the entire organization on the same page regarding keeping the network secure and protecting sensitive data. 

What to Consider When Writing Your AUPs

Creating a culture of cybersecurity starts with crafting well-thought-out Acceptable Use policies tailored for your organization. There are several key elements that organizations should consider when developing their AUPs. To mitigate risk, it is important to clearly communicate what online activities are prohibited on the network. Prohibited activities may include sharing copyrighted materials and accessing inappropriate or offensive content. 


The security of the network should also be considered when creating Acceptable Use Policies. Organizations should require employees and guests to follow best practices for maintaining the network’s security, such as using strong passwords, keeping software up-to-date, and reporting any suspicious activity. Organizations should also ensure that employees and guests are aware of their responsibilities regarding the protection of sensitive data and personal information.


Some industries have strict compliance requirements when it comes to managing sensitive data. Organizations should make certain that employees and guests are aware of these compliance requirements that apply to the organization and its network. This should be strongly considered when creating Acceptable Use Policies. 


Another key element to keep in mind is personal device usage. Now that companies have employees working remotely or bringing their own devices to work, there should be clear guidelines around personal device usage. Social media may also fall into this category. It can be a useful marketing tool, but can also lead to phishing scams and be a major distraction. Both personal device usage and social media guidelines may be broad, but should certainly be considered when creating Acceptable Use Policies. 


Finally, Organizations should outline the consequences for violating AUPs, including disciplinary action and possible termination of access to the network. Clarity is your friend when it comes to these policies. That way, no employees find a “grey area” which puts the entire network at risk. With that being said, there should be regular training on AUPs for employees and guests who have access to the network to make sure that they understand their responsibilities.


How to Enforce Your AUPs 

Acceptable Use Policies are only effective if properly enforced. A great way to enforce AUPs is to make sure they are easily understandable. They should be written with the employee in mind. Make sure the expectations are clearly communicated and relevant to your industry. 


AUPs should be easily accessible and located in places like the employee handbook. It might also be a good idea to have physical copies in common areas if your organization has a physical location. Make sure that they are updated and reviewed by employees often and that they are clearly understood before employees sign that they have read them. These policies should be communicated during the onboarding process for new employees and reviewed during staff meetings when necessary. 


Again, clarity is your friend when it comes to Acceptable Use Policies. Create space for employees to ask questions and gain further clarity on the why behind the policies they may not like or understand. 

Concluding Thoughts 

In conclusion, Acceptable Use Policies play a vital role in maintaining the security and integrity of an organization’s network. Organizations should develop AUPs tailored to their specific needs and provide regular training to ensure that employees and guests are aware of their responsibilities when using the network. By doing so, organizations can ensure that their network is used in a safe, efficient, and compliant manner. 


The best way to ensure your AUPs are right for your organization is to partner with our experts at vTECH io. You can purchase CISO hours from us and our experts can customize an agreement for your business.  Our vTECH io experts can help you determine if you have included the proper elements in your policies and help you revise and update older policies. The hours never expire so you only have to use the hours when you need them. 

To hire an expert from vTECH io, all you have to do is click here, fill out the form, and we will be in touch. We look forward to working with you.